"Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along."
– George Herbert
If you take a broad view of our culture over the last 50 years (and you do it objectively), you can see some major changes, not all of them bad.
Time was, families used to be dealing with elderly parents, young children … and everything in between, all in one house! This is less common now, and as a result, many families are actually unprepared for how to handle it — simply because models are so much less plentiful.
But I have put together some guidance on this for you. The reason I highlight it now, is that we can help. You might know somebody in this situation — or you could be dealing with it yourself. Go ahead and send this email to them … and let them know that we can be part of their *solution*, and help to give them peace of mind.
They’ll thank you. Whether it’s simply by having some authoritative "help" on their side — or to point them in the right direction, we all need to come together in these kinds of situations.
After all, I’m pretty sure our grandparents’ generation didn’t worry about their Twitter feed. So things do change…
"Real World" Personal Strategy
Caring For The Elderly–While Taking Care of Kids
Depending on your perspective, this can feel like a double-whammy.
Certainly, as with children, it’s always a better idea to focus on the benefits of more time with your parents, etc … but yes, I’ve seen many times how this can put a major drain on a family.
From what I’ve observed of adults thrust into the role of caring for their parents, the biggest struggle often comes from trying to keep their dual responsibilities segregated. They try to ensure that the needs of the aging parent don’t impact what’s going on in their children’s lives.
As an example, the adult children feel like they have to choose between making sure that Mom takes a walk for exercise and attending a child’s piano recital. No matter what the adult parent chooses, he or she often feels like a failure at everything.
What you need to realize is that this process is not something that you can keep separated in your life. You’ll do your family a great service by viewing it as an experience to be shared with everyone in the family, and maybe even with some members of the outside community.
If you find yourself in this situation here are 3 practical tips I can offer:
1) Get the Actual Facts. You may have avoided talking with your parents about finances in the past. Whether you were taught that those things are private or "it just never came up," now is not the time for surprises. You need to know how your parents are doing financially and whether they’ve made any provisions in case they become ill or suffer a long-term disability.
2) Ensure the Estate is Set Up Right. At this stage of your parent’s life it’s important to make sure that your parent’s legal house is in order. No matter where you get it done, your parents absolutely need to have a financial power of attorney, advance health care directive (a health care power of attorney plus a living will), and a simple will.
All this may not constitute the fullest estate plan for your parents. It might not be proper Medicaid planning. However, it is the bare minimum you will need to help care for your parents.
3) Insure Against the Future. Now is the time to examine long-term-care insurance or assess whether savings will cover an extended nursing home stay, assisted-living facility costs or extended home-care services. You may be tempted to begin to liquidate your holdings or stop saving for your own benefit to help pay for the cost of your parent’s care. Big mistake.
Remember that there aren’t nearly the same kind of government programs or lending scenarios that will help you pay for your kids, or their college, or to fund your retirement — as there are to help support aging parents. It’s vital that you continue to save for your retirement.
If you’d like help, please let us know… 414-325-2040
To You and Your Family’s Peace of Mind!